Hong Kong lessons for Shanghai Disneyland

March 29, 2016 15:10
Shanghai Disneyland (left) is three times the size of Hong Kong Disneyland. Photos: Xinhua, Bloomberg

You'll find more spaces for smoking than peeing at Shanghai Disneyland.

China's first Walt Disney theme park is equipped with 15 restrooms and 10 smoking areas to tackle the two main issues concerning mainland visitors to Hong Kong Disneyland -- and other theme parks around the world for that matter.

But having 15 toilets at Shanghai Disneyland may be insufficient, given that Hong Kong Disneyland, which is just a third of the size in Shanghai, has 12.

Based on the estimated number of visitors to the theme park, there will be about 4,500 people using each toilet each day. Of course, that is just an estimate because we don't know the actual size of the Disney toilets, which are known for being scrupulously tidy and sanitary.

At the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, by comparison, there are an average of 20 to 25 washrooms in its eight theme parks.

Although the one in Shanghai is Disney's second-largest theme park, it is much smaller than the Florida franchise.

The entire Walt Disney World is about 40 square miles (104 square kilometers), or the size of the city of San Francisco, while Shanghai Disneyland covers 963 acres, or about 1.5 square miles.

But Shanghai Disneyland will try to be very accommodating to smokers.

It has 10 designated smoking areas, compared with three to nine in the Orlando theme parks.

Specifically, Shanghai Disneyland will have two smoking areas each at Adventure Isle, Treasure Cove, Tomorrowland and Fantasyland.

We do hope, however, the smoking situation will be under control at the theme park because anyone from Hong Kong can easily tell how serious the smoking problem is once they cross the border to Shenzhen.

But washrooms are potentially the bigger problem, if the experience of Hong Kong is to be considered.

One could recall that many mainlanders flooded Hong Kong Disneyland when it opened in September 2005, and created a few international headlines because some of them were peeing and pooping outside the washroom area.

In 2014, the state-owned newspaper Global Time criticized Hong Kong Disneyland for having an insufficient number of washrooms for tourists to answer the call of nature.

Disneyland will adopt in Shanghai very similar rules as those in its theme parks elsewhere. 

For instance, selfie sticks will not be allowed. Folding chairs and mini-chairs are also prohibited. Masks -- except for medical use -- will not be allowed, either.

As for the other rules, Disney reminds visitors to use their best judgment and not to bring anything that may be potentially harmful or disruptive.

So welcome to the US$5.5 billion Shanghai resort, where tickets for the first three months have already been sold out even before its official opening on June 16.

Good luck!

-- Contact us at [email protected]


EJ Insight writer